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COMMENTARY

Detroit, Michigan, and the United States as a whole lost (at least temporarily) one of America’s most creative and important journalists in November: Charlie LeDuff.

LeDuff spent the past few years highlighting corruption and telling human stories for Fox 2 News out of Detroit, but he has taken time away from journalism for mostly unspecified reasons.

Three years ago, LeDuff and Fox 2 put together a Fourth of July package that you probably missed unless you live in the Motor City. In it, LeDuff shares beers with Kid Rock while weaving a narrative about modern America’s fabric and problems. He introduces past segments that focus on everything from labor to land rights.

To that extent, the video above is worth 25 minutes of your time. And, if you’d like to know more about LeDuff’s life perspective, check out this preface to one of his books:

The American man has been taught that while it is better to avoid a fight, he should have been in a fight; that honor cannot always be defended with reason. He should never admit fear. He should always strive to put the blade in his adversary’s chest, not his back. An American man should know how to load and fire a gun. He should know how to ride a horse, bet on a horse, bet on the stock market, and bet on the cards. A good man should know a woman’s body and know how to please her. His woman, in turn, should never speak anything but well of him in public. An American man should have been raised in the church, rejected the church and eventually found virtue in the church.

The American man should be educated. He should work. He should honor his debts and live within his means. He should be able to recite poetry and have bits of true philosophy at his fingertips. He should be able to play an instrument and know how to help a rose grow. An American man should know how to dress and speak his language well. He should be handy and mechanically inclined and yet his nails must be clean. A man should have children, and at some point his children should reject him. And in the course of his life, a man’s children should return and find virtue in him.

This is what an American man should be. Of course, no such man has ever existed, and no man probably ever will.

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William W. Savage III holds a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. He covered two sessions of the Oklahoma Legislature for eCapitol.net before working in health care for six years. He is a nationally certified Mental Health First Aid instructor.